Kataro monastery is an ancient Armenian monastery in the Hadrut Region of Artsakh Republic.
Kataro or Katarovank (“Katar” in Armenian “peak”) is located in the Hadrut province at the top of one of the highest mountains of Artsakh - Dizapayt (2478 m) and is one of the highest mountain temples of Artsakh. Katarovank and Mount Dizapait are mentioned in manuscripts of many Armenian historians.
The Armenian historian of the fifth century, Pavstos Buzand, in his writings portrays Katarovank as a large monastery built on the peak of Mount Dizapait. Buzand mentions the monastery in the context of the story of the invasion of the Massagets and the Huns in Armenia in 335. A large army led by King Sanesan invaded the eastern provinces of Armenia in response to the mission of St. Grigoris, grandson of St. Gregory the Illuminator and bishop of the eastern lands of Armenia. St. Grigoris led the Armenian mission to convert the Massagetan tribes to Christianity. The mission was successful when the three sons of Sanesan converted to Christianity. An enraged Sanesan ordered the killing of St. Gregoris. Right after the king’s sons, converted to Christianity, fled, trying to hide in the monastery of Katarovank at the peak of the mountain, where at that time there were 3870 hermits and pilgrims. But Sanesan reached the monastery and killed them all, including his children. Hunnish soldiers demolished the monastery, and the bodies of the dead were burned.
Today's architectural monument is a basilica constructed in the XVII century on the site of an ancient temple - a monastery of the IV-V centuries. It is built from untreated blocks of local sandstone. One side of the chapel is underground, and the other is built on a bare rock. Khachkars of different times have been preserved near the basilica.
From ancient times to this day, Kataro and Mount Disapait have been a destination of pilgrimage and a special holy place for locals. There are many exciting legends and beliefs associated with Kataro and Mount Disapait. There is a notebook on the altar of the church where pilgrims record their prayers to God. On Christian holidays, residents climb to the top of the mountain and perform a rite of worship to the remains of the martyrs, as well as "matagh" (a traditional charitable donation to the AAC). Another compelling belief is associated with a stone placed next to the church. Residents believe that if a woman finds wheat in the ground from under a stone, then a boy will be born, and in the case of barley, a girl will be born. According to legend, the grains are left from sheaves that were used to burn the martyrs.
The path to the holy place is quite challenging, and it is better to go there in the warm season. Nevertheless, a marvelous view that opens from a height of 2478 m to the Araks River Valley, as well as the Mrav, Zangezur, and Karabakh ranges, will meet all your expectations. And even if the day is cloudy, you will find yourself on the “shore of the cloudy sea” on top of the mountain.